Late on Sunday the field of contestants to provide the music for Southern Sudan's national anthem was narrowed down to three. Joseph Abuk, chairman of the technical committee overseeing the anthem, said southern officials and the army would have the final choice. The words for the anthem have already been finalised, containing such hopeful lyrics as: "Sing songs of freedom with joy, for peace, liberty and justice shall forever reign." A bit like writing your anthem before you've got your secession. A referendum on the split is supposed to take place on 9 January, although it is far from certain if this will in fact happen, owing to unhappiness concerning the electoral register, among other issues. Read more: Sapa, via Times Live
Ireland's population has still not recovered from the Great Famine.